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Oregon Offshore Wind June Update

Last week Surfrider Foundation submitted comments to the State of Oregon and the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) for two important comment periods that closed on Friday and Saturday. Following the sale scheduled for this fall, a successful leasee will have the ability to conduct research and assessment activities over the next 5 years in the lease areas and shoreward corridors. Because this isn't a license to construct nor are any plans proposed, which comes following the lease area assessment period, many of Surfrider's nearshore ocean and estuary interests (both recreational and ecological) are not addressed in either of the Environmental Assessment or the Federal Consistency Review. Each of these processes are briefly described below with links to our broader coalition comments for each. Surfrider and local groups in Oregon now turn to the final Proposed Sale Notice comment period which closes July 1.
1) BOEM's Environmental Assessment - The Environmental Assessment from BOEM was limited to anticipated research and assessment activities of the offshore sites and cabling corridors that may impact the environment and ocean users. Addressing required research for foreseeable longer term and cumulative impacts now (rather than after proposed construction) has been a longstanding concern and shortcoming of the planning process for Surfrider and other environmental groups. Interestingly, in Section 3.8 (pg 60)  of the assessment, under Rec and Tourism, they reference a spatial map and data from the Surfrider Rec. Study 2011, an important prompt for us to request and updated study that includes our beaches and estuaries. They conclude impacts to recreation and tourism to be "beneficial, minor and difficult to measure" and propose no action. Surfrider joined a coalition in developing two separate comments linked below.
2) Oregon Federal Consistency Review (OR Dept. of Land Conservation and Development)  - The state received comment on BOEM's Federal Consistency Review and Surfrider participated in both written comments and public workshops attended by some of our coastal volunteers and chapter leaders. Prior to lease sale and associated ocean activities (research or development), BOEM must conduct an analysis of Oregon's laws that may conflict with any foreseeable lease activities - this is known as federal consistency review and required under the federal Coastal Zone Management Act. Oregon's Territorial Sea Plan and our statewide Planning Goals are among some of the key areas where our state's laws and enforceable policies must be consistent and not in conflict with the lease activities. Surfrider members engaged in public workshops and we joined a coalition of groups in written comment linked below.